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Kelly Cole Hangs Tough on West 3rd Street

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Maricel Sison

West 3rd Street's got something extraordinary for you. DJ Kelly Cole takes on a rock and roll aesthetic and presents a store that showcases everything he loves from vintage clothing, art, music, books, and home decor. Don’t let the array of cutesy restaurants and women’s boutiques in this part of town fool you: Kelly Cole's Extraordinarium is that sinewy store 3rd Street has been missing.

The t-shirts, shoes, leather jackets and sweatshirts are all hand-picked vintage. The store provides a wide selection of genuine leather belts from Cole's own line. They've also got on-site alteration services from Denim Revival, so walking out with the perfect pair of jeans is a piece of cake. (And they'll also work on jeans purchased elsewhere.) We spent a few minutes with Kelly Cole to listen to him break down the Extraordinarium.

What's your vision for the store?
My vision is to create an environment in which I can focus on the many layers of my creative life, and to offer a forum where I can celebrate the many unique and interesting things I come across in my travels. I have the luxury to move around a lot with DJ and design work. I see a lot of cool things that my clients (men especially) who don't have that luxury, might not be exposed to. I find myself taking for granted some of the products I have learned about, and am amazed when people don't know about them. It's a cool moment to expose someone to a new thing that they love. I really dig things that have a story. I think that's why I originally got involved in vintage clothing and furniture. Having the story of that product or designer, how it influenced things that came after, why it is rare, etc... have always fascinated me. As a DJ, designer, interior designer, producer, and writer, I move from one thing to the next all the time, and it's cool to have a place where I can bring all of these things together. I also use the store as market research to test out products that I am developing and manufacturing in my line. Over time, I see the store as a work in progress, evolving constantly, carrying new and different items. I intend to expand on the idea of the wall space as a proper gallery.

What brands do you carry and plan on carrying in the future?
Right now we only really have parts of my line of belts and t-shirts, and the very specific and select vintage that I wholesale to other retailers: t-shirts, leather jackets, military boots, crewneck sweatshirts, denim, etc... My first new t-shirt line under my new brand (Kelly Cole) has just arrived and it's very exciting! I have used all vintage t-shirts that have been dyed and treated. 100% recycled with eco-friendly ink. I am looking for an independent new denim line, and just haven't settled on one yet. I am investigating a few new men's shirt makers. We also currently carry new books and candles?I want to carry more home furnishings, too. It's a work in progress! I'm just trying not to rush, but am trying to find the correct items to fulfill my vision.

Have you done any collaborations or have any coming up?
Yes! I have collaborated with Michael Schmidt on some belts, with Dineh Mohajer (Hard Candy/Smith and Cult) on some jewelry, and with Denim Revival (with whom I share the space) on custom skirts and shorts using vintage military pants. Collaborating with Denim Revival is rad because they can do anything with denim. They repair, alter, and do made to measure like no other shop on earth. I intend to do a lot more with them in the future, as well as with other friends who design. Guenevere Van Seenus helped me with some of my t-shirt graphics, and we had so much fun that we are working on more.

Describe the aesthetics of the store.
I wanted to get away from the vibe of Lo-Fi. People identified so much with that 70s aesthetic, that free and easy beach thing, that I felt like I had to do something that reflected more of where I am now and where I want to go. I would describe it as Bizarre Chic. I'm big into taxidermy, vintage magic memorabilia and posters, death iconography, and 18th century lithography. I've always been inspired by what Tommy Perse did with Maxfield over the years. One of the coolest things about having a retail space like this is that there are on rules, and it's relatively easy to change when you get bored, and I bore quickly. Designing a restaurant or bar, or other business interior, you have to think of it as being there sort-of long term. It doesn't change much, mainly for functional and financial reasons. Also, I do it, and then I'm out. I don't have to see it every day. If I did, it would drive me crazy. I like change and evolution, and in retail you can do that. You almost have to. i always feel that if I'm bored and unhappy, then my customers will be too. I know this isn't entirely true, but my insanity and adherence to that idea at least keeps things fresh!

This unique gem on 3rd Street is a must visit, because it's definitely not your average run-of the-mill clothing store. Grab a bite to eat take a stroll and buy a pair of jeans that will outlast (and probably fit better than) any other brand in your closet, or take that favorite pair of Levis in for a makeover. We love the huge selection of genuine vintage shirts and leather belts. Boots can be hard to come by, but look on the floor and you will find that Kelly showcases a wonderful collection of Vietnam-era military boots and engineer boots that are actually from the 60s. They're open Monday through Saturday, 10:30am to 7pm.
Story and photos by Maricel Sison.
· Kelly Cole's Extraordinarium [Facebook]